Osaka, JAPAN – After inaugurating its newest service to Osaka-Japan, Qatar Airways continued its celebrations last week by hosting a high profile Gala Dinner in Japan’s capital city, Tokyo. The Gala Dinner was well attended by ministers, high-ranking officials from the public and privates sectors, travel agents and members of the media.
While in Tokyo, Qatar Airways’ CEO Akbar Al Baker met with Kazuo Kitagawa, Minister of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport (MLIT). During their meeting, Al Baker touched on Qatar Airways’ future plans, and the possibility of launching additional routes to Japan.
Mr. Hayao Hora, Vice Minister of MLIT, as well as a number of other officials also attended the meeting, which took place at the government office of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. MLIT officials expressed their enthusiasm over the new route launch, and conveyed their hopes of further strengthening the transport of passengers and goods between the two countries.
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said the launch of Osaka-Japan fulfilled a long-held ambition for the airline to serve Japan.
“Qatar has very close ties with Japan, and we are extremely excited to finally offer our five star service to the people of Japan, along with business and leisure travelers from around the world traveling on our global network,” he said.
”We have sought to launch this route for a long time, and are now looking forward to a prosperous and cooperative relationship with Japan. Now the Japanese people can enjoy our five star service”
“The new Osaka route marks our first step into the Japanese market, whereby we will be providing our services for both leisure and business travelers in Japan and in the Middle East.”
Qatar Airways first flight to Osaka arrived in Japan’s commercial city on April 1, 2005. The flight was welcomed by a fireman’s water salute of the firing of a water arch, together with traditional Japanese music provided by Koto players and greetings from senior airport officials and code share partner ANA.
The Osaka service marks Qatar Airways’ first foray into the Japanese market and the route is expected to help meet demand from business and leisure travelers between the Middle East and Japan.
The Osaka route is operated with the modern Airbus A330-200 in a three-class configuration. The First Class cabin has 12 seats that convert to 180-degree flat beds, Business Class offers 18 seats that recline 160 degrees, while Economy features 208 seats.
The Airbus A330-200 features Qatar Airways’ award-winning Audio Video On Demand system, allowing passengers in all three classes to choose from a list of more than 40 international movies, as well as short programmes to view on their individual TV screens.
Passengers can also listen to an extensive list of 250 CDs and 16 audio channels. In addition, there is a choice of 12 video games to play through the interactive TV screens.
Qatar Airways currently operates scheduled flights from its Doha hub to 60 destinations across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Indian subcontinent and the Far East. New destinations added in recent weeks have included Seychelles, Johannesburg, Cape Town and London Gatwick.
By the end of 2005, the airline plans to serve at least 70 destinations, including Athens, Tunis and Algiers.
Qatar Airways operates a modern all-Airbus fleet of 39 aircraft, which will double in size over the next few years following a $5.1bn order for 34 additional Airbus jets. The airline is one of the launch customers of the twin-deck A380 ‘super jumbos’ with four aircraft on order, scheduled for delivery from 2009.
The airline has scheduled four flights a week between Doha, capital of the State of Qatar in the Arabian Gulf, and Osaka which also marks Qatar Airways’ 11th Far East destination that already covers Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul, Manila, Cebu, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Yangon and Jakarta.
Doha-based Qatar Airways will operate a fleet of 110 aircraft by 2013 – almost double the existing size. Qatar Airways has ordered 80 Airbus A350s, 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the latter having started in November 2007. The airline is a launch customer of the twin-deck Airbus A380 ‘super jumbos’ with five aircraft on order and scheduled for delivery from 2010. Qatar Airways moves to the New Doha International Airport in 2010, when the first phase of the new facility opens. For more information, visit www.ndiaproject.com
Qatar Airways is one of only six airlines in the world with a Five Star ranking for service and excellence awarded by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry monitoring agency. Skytrax also named Qatar Airways’ cabin crew as Best in the Middle East for the fifth year running in 2007 following a survey of more than 15 million passengers worldwide. For more information, log onto www.qatarairways.com
Qatar Airways Corporate Communications
Tel: +974 4496956, Fax: +974 4620132